Friday, March 4, 2011

The Latest Food Fad! WHAT THE TRUCK???????

      Food Trucks! That's right, Food Trucks! It's the latest gastronomic craze. It has really taken off in L.A., and the craze is growing in popularity here in Miami. For most of my life the only food I have ever eaten off a truck has been at the fair, or at the roach coaches that used to be prevalent in industrial areas. For the most part, my limited experience taught me that food out of a rolling kitchen was rarely any good. Well, the times they are a changin. Not only is the food being produced in many of these trucks noteworthy, in some cases genuine gourmet experiences can be had.
     I remember months ago, watching The Great Food Truck Race on the Food Network. It was a show where various food trucks from around the country were competing in different challenges until there was one left standing. I recall thinking this food truck thing might be kind of cool. Time passed, and I didn't think that much about it. Then a couple months ago, my best friend Amado and I were talking, and he told me he had been following these food trucks on Twitter. They would Tweet where in Miami they would be situated from day to day. So, being the bandwagon jumper that I am, I decided to start following these trucks on Twitter as well. I was initially disappointed to see that most of their stops were toward the northern end of town. I live in Kendall, which is almost as far south as you can get in Miami. I figured, Meh, I'm certainly not driving all over creation to eat from a truck. Well, wouldn't you know it? They have started migrating south. When I checked my Twitter account yesterday, I saw that 4 trucks would be making a dinner stop one block from where I live. So I took it as a sign from above, and decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.
     I happen to be off on Wednesdays, so I spent most of the day anticipating a yummy dinner. I call my better half Rosa, and I tell her not to eat. I have a surprise for dinner. She gets home and asked me what I have cooked. Cooked? No sweetie, we will be stepping out this evening. I'm wearing my shorts and flip flops as we walk out the front door. We walk past our cars parked in the lot, and exit our complex to the side walk. At this point, Rosa is looking at me like I am some kind of freak. She demands to know where the hell we are going. I told her, "We are going one block to the parking lot of the big car wash. Just trust me." About two minutes later when we arrived, shes sees the people queuing up to the trucks, smacks me on the arm, and starts laughing.
     I can see why this fad is taking off and may be here to stay. It provides people with limited disposable income the opportunity to eat out with friends and family at a fraction of the cost of going to a sit down restaurant.
     Now..................on to the food!
     First stop, Latin Burger. Who doesn't love a good burger? Being of Cuban descent, I was intrigued at the prospect of what tasty combinations of flavors could be had by combining the All American burger with Latin flavors. I ordered The Latin Macho burger. Rosa had the pulled pork tacos. The food is made to order so it takes a few minutes. When you do get it, it's piping hot and fresh. I tore into my burger like a Tasmanian Devil, tornado and all. The flavor was full and bold. You could taste the Hispanic spices integrated into the meat. The onions were perfectly caramelized, and the red pepper mayo was spot on. This could have been a top 10 burger experience for me except for the fact that as is the case with many burgers nowadays it was very overcooked. I know, I know, the food police are out there, up in arms if you don't cook a hamburger into sawdust because E colli is looming around every corner. WTF? When did we become a nation of paranoid eaters? If you cook a piece of meat beyond all recognition of ever having had a drop of juice in it, you're making for a pretty frickkin unappetizing meal. I like SOME pink to still be prevalent. I understand that the folks at Latin Burger have to protect themselves against every shyster lawyer salivating to make a quick payday. You know what I say? Fuck Lawyers! I will sign a waiver if I have to, just give me a stinking burger that's still pink in the middle. Oh dear, I was ranting wasn't I? I have to warn my readers, that may happen from time to time. In the final analysis, Burger tasty, but overcooked. Toppings, delicious. Bun, soft warm, and fresh. The final tally for Latin Burger........7 out of 10 on the FOODGASM meter. Coulda been an easy 9 though.
    The Fish Box, is the food truck counterpart of La Camaronera. La Camaronera is a casual seafood restaurant located in Little Havana. Although they have always had a loyal clientele, their reputation really skyrocketed after a recent visit from Food Network star Guy Fieri during a taping of his hit show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Not long after, La Camaronera decided to take their new found fame on the road, and thus The Fish Box was born. Serving Cuban style fish sandwiches called minutas, (Mee-New-Tas), fried shrimp, fried lobster tail, and their signature caritas, The Fish Box has a little something for all Seafoodies. When I sauntered up to the counter, I decided Rosa and I would share a lobster sandwich, and an order of caritas. The lady who took my order asked if I wanted their special hot sauce on our sandwich. Not fearing some spice, I said "Sure, why not?" Well, a quick word of warning. The Fish Boxes "Special" hot sauce Is pretty friggin hot! I love heat. But, its a shame that too much heat ended up masking the taste of some very delicate chunks of lobster tail. The caritas however are sublime. Its an order of six small fritters that look like hush puppies. They are made out of ground up black eyed peas, and spices, formed into small balls and deep fried. I can just imagine a quadruple order of these accompanied by several pitchers of very cold beer. Yeah, I would pretty much tear that up in a heartbeat. I have never been a big fan of black eyes peas, or The Black Eyed peas for that matter. I find Fergie unappealing, and the other guy, the one with the Doctor Seuss name, Sam I Am, or whatever the hell it is, to be talentless hacks. I mean, did you watch them on the Superbowl halftime show? They didn't have all the effects of the studio on their voices, and ended up sounding more like Black Eyed Shit as far as I'm concerned.  The black eyed peas in the caritas however, taste amazing. The preceding message has been brought to you by the angrier side of Mr. Foodgasm. All that being said, The Fish Box gets a 7 out of 10, based largely on how damn good those caritas are. Warning, if you are stoned you may end up consuming 10 orders.

     Last but not least, it was time for dessert. Sugar Mama cupcakes was there to calm the sweet tooth. Cupcakes are also a fairly recent boom on the culinary scene. I know cupcakes have been around forever, but these are small individualized gourmet cakes. They even have their own showcase on the Food Network where competing bakeries try to come up with elaborate cupcake recipes in hopes of winning the top prize. I love cupcakes because they are usually two to three bites, and that is more than enough sweets for me to be satisfied. Both Rosa and I ordered the Red Velvet cupcakes with a white chocolate topping. The cake itself was moist and flavorful. The white chocolate topping however, had become hard, and did not have a pleasant texture.The cupcake would have really benefited from a smooth butter creme icing on top. The young lady selling the cakes is a sweetheart. I asked her is she had anything with guava in it. I really like guava. Its the Cuban in me. She replied she didn't have any guava cupcakes at that time, but she offered me a small iced guava cake on a stick that looked like a lollipop. She didn't charge me for it. She just included it in the order. A very nice gesture I must say. So, although the Red velvet turned out to be a disappointment because of the icing/topping, I would try Sugar Mama again based on the service, and the fact that the cake portion of the cupcake was well done. Also, the guava lolli pop was very tasty. Sugar Mama 6 out of 10.
     Well, there you have it. My humble opinion on the latest culinary craze. Are food trucks a fad? Will they stay popular, and stand the test of time? Who knows? For the time being, I plan on sampling more of them and bringing the results to you. Good eats + Cheap = Happy John. Until next time, may all your meals be FOODGASMIC.  


  1. I realize how much you like your meat pink, but dude isn't the special sauce on the Macho burger outrageous. It is un fenomeno compay!

  2. Es mas que un fenomeno! That's why I gave Latin Burger a 7 out of 10! I enjoyed it a lot. I will be returning to Latin Burger too! Asi que tranquilo acere. The latin Macho esta bueno con cojones!

  3. I'm SO jealous that you have food trucks ! I'm in the suburbs and we barely get a decent burger in a building !! And I'm so with you on the "pink burger" ..... best way to ruin a burger is to cook it to death and beyond. Damn Food Police .... (shakes fist in air)

  4. HAHA! We are on the same wavelength! I may have to open a burger joint that will serve burgers with juice in them.